Books to read before travel to Russia Advise on buying religious art work , an possibly attique icons in russia.


We are looking to purchase at least one large painting. or icon from Russia. Something with a religious theme (probably something from the great masters). 

Is is easy to purchase in Moscow or ST Petersburg? 

Any suggestions on obtaining a pass from the govt prior to arrival? 

Any suggestions on whereto make these purchases? 

Are the prices fair? or exorbitant? 

Can one bargain? 

Would appreciate any/all input. Thanks in  advance. Louanna

Also any good fiction to read prior to travel . Looking for something that will enhance learning. and make the experience more meaningful .